There’s no way to sugarcoat the impact higher serials prices have on the information marketplace, or the dire state of funding for libraries. Libraries are no longer in a position of having to cut low-use journals in order to make room for high-use ones; instead, they are now being forced to cancel heavily used, even essential subscriptions, much to the dismay of their patrons. The economy still drives any discussion of serials pricing, and it remains a very ugly story.Click Periodicals Price Survey 2011: Under Pressure, Times Are Changing for the full report.
In September 2010, the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that economic indicators showed that the recession hit its trough and began recovery in June 2009. But while this may be true technically based on economic data, the recovery’s effects remain very difficult for either libraries or their patrons to detect. Educational systems, especially higher education, are easy targets when funding gets tight and states’ budgets are far from flush. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report in 2010 that had some alarming news: “Counting both initial and mid-year shortfalls, 48 states have addressed or still face such shortfalls in their budgets for fiscal year 2010, totaling $193 billion or 28 percent of state budgets—the largest gaps on record.”
There is more bad news coming from the federal level, as 2012 budgets are hit hard without any federal stimulus funding to fill the gaps, as had been the case in previous years. . . . .
Evolve or die?
We are going to evolve. As has been well documented, the library world was already suffering from funding and technological pressure before the recession officially began in December 2007. In the five years since, the pressure and pace of disruptive change have only accelerated. In order to survive the next five years, the library community will have to focus on the much more difficult task of finding new opportunities. Libraries, publishers, and vendors will all shed some legacy processes; information purchasing patterns will change, leading inevitably to new pricing models. Technology will continue its march forward. The library landscape of 2016 will be very different from today’s.
It is also very likely that Open Access will play an ever increasing role in journal publication.